Aarts Productions, Inc. v. Crocker National Bank

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtAGLIANO
Citation225 Cal.Rptr. 203,179 Cal.App.3d 1061
PartiesAARTS PRODUCTIONS, INC., Plaintiff and Appellant, v. CROCKER NATIONAL BANK, et al., Defendants and Respondents. H000601.
Decision Date11 April 1986

Page 203

225 Cal.Rptr. 203
179 Cal.App.3d 1061
AARTS PRODUCTIONS, INC., Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
CROCKER NATIONAL BANK, et al., Defendants and Respondents.
H000601.
Court of Appeal, Sixth District, California.
April 11, 1986.
Certified for Partial Publication *

[179 Cal.App.3d 1063]

Page 204

James J. Reilly, San Francisco, Paul J. Slavit, Wilson & Slavit, Oakland, for plaintiff and appellant.

[179 Cal.App.3d 1064]

Page 205

Mary Lynne Thaxter, Hoge, Fenton, Jones & Appel, Inc., San Jose, for defendants and respondents.

AGLIANO, Acting Presiding Justice.

I

In this case we determine that defendants Crocker Bank and its employees are not liable for wrongful dishonor of checks drawn against an account when the bank complies with its account agreement when faced with conflicting demands by the signatories on the account. We accordingly affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants.

II

Scope of Review

Since a summary judgment motion raises only questions of law regarding the construction and effect of the supporting and opposing papers, we independently review them on appeal, applying the same three-step analysis required of the trial court. (Code Civ.Proc., § 437c; LaRosa v. Superior Court (1981) 122 Cal.App.3d 741, 744-745, 176 Cal.Rptr. 224; Bonus-Bilt, Inc. v. United Grocers, Ltd. (1982) 136 Cal.App.3d 429, 432, 186 Cal.Rptr. 357.) First, we identify the issues framed by the pleadings since it is these allegations to which the motion must respond by establishing a complete defense or otherwise showing there is no factual basis for relief on any theory reasonably contemplated by the opponent's pleading. (Joslin v. Marin Mun. Water Dist. (1967) 67 Cal.2d 132, 148-149, 60 Cal.Rptr. 377, 429 P.2d 889; Canifax v. Hercules Powder Co. (1965) 237 Cal.App.2d 44, 50, 46 Cal.Rptr. 552; Tresemer v. Barke (1978) 86 Cal.App.3d 656, 666, 150 Cal.Rptr. 384.)

Secondly, we determine whether the moving party's showing has established facts which negate the opponent's claim and justify a judgment in movant's favor. (Gardenswartz v. Equitable etc. Soc. (1937) 23 Cal.App.2d Supp. 745, 751, 753-754, 68 P.2d 322; Kimber v. Jones (1954) 122 Cal.App.2d 914, 919, 265 P.2d 922; Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108, 111, 70 Cal.Rptr. 97, 443 P.2d 561, and cases there cited.) The motion must stand self-sufficient and cannot succeed because the opposition is weak. (de Echeguren v. de Echeguren [179 Cal.App.3d 1065] (1962) 210 Cal.App.2d 141, 147-149, 26 Cal.Rptr. 562, and cases there cited; Rowland v. Christian, supra, 69 Cal.2d at p. 111, 70 Cal.Rptr. 97, 443 P.2d 561.) A party cannot succeed without disproving even those claims on which the opponent would have the burden of proof at trial. (Barnes v. Blue Haven Pools (1969) 1 Cal.App.3d 123, 127, 81 Cal.Rptr. 444; Miller v. Metzinger (1979) 91 Cal.App.3d 31, 42, 154 Cal.Rptr. 22; Conn v. National Can Corp. (1981) 124 Cal.App.3d 630, 638-640, 177 Cal.Rptr. 445.)

When a summary judgment motion prima facie justifies a judgment, the third and final step is to determine whether the opposition demonstrates the existence of a triable, material factual issue. (Walsh v. Walsh (1941) 18 Cal.2d 439, 441-442, 116 P.2d 62, and cases there cited.) Counter-affidavits and declarations need not prove the opposition's case; they suffice if they disclose the existence of a triable issue. (Saporta v. Barbagelata (1963) 220 Cal.App.2d 463, 475, 33 Cal.Rptr. 661; Orser v. George (1967) 252 Cal.App.2d 660, 669, 60 Cal.Rptr. 708; Jack v. Wood (1968) 258 Cal.App.2d 639, 648, 65 Cal.Rptr. 856; Johnson v. Canadian Transport Co. (1976) 54 Cal.App.3d 827, 834, 127 Cal.Rptr. 72.) A court generally cannot resolve questions about a declarant's credibility in a summary judgment proceeding (Saporta, supra, 220 Cal.App.2d at p. 474, 33 Cal.Rptr. 661; Fisher v. Larsen (1982) 138 Cal.App.3d 627, 634, 188 Cal.Rptr. 216), unless admissions against interest have been made which justify disregard of any dissimulation. (Gray v. Reeves (1977) 76 Cal.App.3d 567, 573-574, 142 Cal.Rptr. 716, and cases there cited.) A sufficient motion cannot be successfully resisted by counter-declarations which create immaterial factual conflicts outside the scope of the pleadings; counter-declarations are no substitute for

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amended pleadings. (Craig v. Earl (1961) 194 Cal.App.2d 652, 656, 15 Cal.Rptr. 207; Vanderbilt Growth Fund, Inc. v. Superior Court (1980) 105 Cal.App.3d 628, 635-636, 164 Cal.Rptr. 621, and cases there cited.)
III

The Pleaded Issues

Plaintiff AARTS Productions, Inc., assignee of AARTS Productions, alleged four causes of action against defendants Crocker National Bank and its employees, Julia Clauser and G.M. Atkins. The first cause of action alleged wrongful dishonor of several checks drawn on the association's account to pay its creditors. The second alleged the bank refused to allow plaintiff's assignors to make any withdrawals of almost $15,000 in the association's checking account. The third charged both these derelictions as a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The fourth alleged conversion in that the bank had refused to deposit or return a cashier'[179 Cal.App.3d 1066] check for $314.30 made out to the association. Punitive damages were sought on each cause of action.

IV

A. The Undisputed Facts

In November 1981, a checking account was opened in the name of AARTS, later changed to AARTS Productions, an unincorporated association. As of April 28, 1982, there were four authorized signators on the account, William Johnson, Richard Williams, Mustafa Ansari, and Twyla Utley. The account agreement provided in part: "The Bank may ... (c) if given conflicting certifications or demands, either deposit the balance in court or withhold payment from the account pending the joint order or receipt of all parties or an appropriate court order determining those authorized to...

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347 practice notes
  • Pardee Const. Co. v. Insurance Co. of West, No. D031946.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 2, 2000
    ...v. Tortosa (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 745, 752, 17 Cal. Rptr.2d 734, quoting AARTS Productions, Inc. v. Crocker National Bank (1986) 179 Cal. App.3d 1061, 1064-1065, 225 Cal.Rptr. 203.) Here, our principal task of interpreting the insurance policies constitutes a question of law that, we reitera......
  • Jackson v. Ryder Truck Rental, Inc., No. C013093
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 12, 1993
    ...opposing the motion, using the same method of analysis as the trial court. (AARTS Productions, Inc. v. Crocker National Bank (1986) 179 Cal.App.3d 1061, 1064-1065, 225 Cal.Rptr. 203.) The moving party bears the burden of proving that the claims of the adverse party are entirely without meri......
  • Sosinsky v. Grant
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 18, 1992
    ...of law on summary judgment and on malicious prosecution should be reviewed. In AARTS Productions, Inc. v. Crocker National Bank (1986) 179 Cal.App.3d 1061, 1064-1065, 225 Cal.Rptr. 203, the court described as follows the way in which a motion for summary judgment is properly "Since a summar......
  • Price v. Wells Fargo Bank, No. A040678
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 24, 1989
    ...On appeal, an order granting summary judgment must be reviewed de novo. (AARTS Productions, Inc. v. Crocker National Bank (1986) 179 Cal.App.3d 1061, 1064, 225 Cal.Rptr. 203.) The governing statute provides: "The motion for summary judgment shall be granted if all the papers submitted show ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
347 cases
  • Pardee Const. Co. v. Insurance Co. of West, No. D031946.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 2, 2000
    ...v. Tortosa (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 745, 752, 17 Cal. Rptr.2d 734, quoting AARTS Productions, Inc. v. Crocker National Bank (1986) 179 Cal. App.3d 1061, 1064-1065, 225 Cal.Rptr. 203.) Here, our principal task of interpreting the insurance policies constitutes a question of law that, we reitera......
  • Jackson v. Ryder Truck Rental, Inc., No. C013093
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 12, 1993
    ...opposing the motion, using the same method of analysis as the trial court. (AARTS Productions, Inc. v. Crocker National Bank (1986) 179 Cal.App.3d 1061, 1064-1065, 225 Cal.Rptr. 203.) The moving party bears the burden of proving that the claims of the adverse party are entirely without meri......
  • Sosinsky v. Grant
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 18, 1992
    ...of law on summary judgment and on malicious prosecution should be reviewed. In AARTS Productions, Inc. v. Crocker National Bank (1986) 179 Cal.App.3d 1061, 1064-1065, 225 Cal.Rptr. 203, the court described as follows the way in which a motion for summary judgment is properly "Since a summar......
  • Price v. Wells Fargo Bank, No. A040678
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 24, 1989
    ...On appeal, an order granting summary judgment must be reviewed de novo. (AARTS Productions, Inc. v. Crocker National Bank (1986) 179 Cal.App.3d 1061, 1064, 225 Cal.Rptr. 203.) The governing statute provides: "The motion for summary judgment shall be granted if all the papers submitted show ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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